If you are going through a North Carolina divorce that involves domestic violence, your first priority must focus on you and your children’s immediate safety. Violence in your home should never be tolerated, and if you need help, it’s important to recognize that it’s available through various crisis centers and helplines across the state and nation. If you’re not in immediate danger – or you’re no longer in immediate danger – it’s time to consult with a skilled Raleigh domestic violence lawyer.
The State of North Carolina provides a succinct definition of domestic violence:
- Attempting to cause bodily injury
- Making the victim – or a member of the victim’s family – fear being seriously injured
- Continuing harassment of the victim that results in serious emotional distress
Any form of stalking, rape, and/or other sexual offense are included in this definition.
Domestic Violence Is Not Uncommon
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence shares several sobering statistics related to domestic violence in the United States:
Nearly every minute, about 20 people are abused by an intimate partner, which amounts to more than 10 million people a year.
- 1 in 4 women experiences some form of severe domestic violence in her lifetime.
- On an average day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive more than 20,000 phone calls.
The takeaway is that domestic violence happens, and it can happen to anyone.
Filing a Restraining Order
What you probably think of as a restraining order is officially called a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) in North Carolina. Such an order can help in a variety of ways:
- By requiring your abusive spouse to move out of your home or pay for your alternative housing
- By allowing you temporary custody of your children and requiring your abusive spouse to pay temporary child support (and spousal support if applicable)
- By precluding your abusive spouse from engaging in certain activities, including coming within a specific distance of you, threatening you, or buying a firearm.
The court will likely grant you a temporary restraining order very quickly, but it is only valid for up to 10 days – after which you’ll need to proceed to court to obtain a permanent restraining order.
The Effects on Your Divorce
The fact is that the judge who presides over your case has considerable discretion when it comes to the important issues – child custody arrangements, the division of marital property, and financial issues like child support, alimony, and legal fees related to your divorce. If you’ve been the victim of domestic violence at the hand of your spouse, the judge can take your personal circumstances into careful consideration, and it can directly affect his or her decisions regarding nearly any important component of your divorce.
If Your Divorce Involves Domestic Violence, You Need an Experienced Raleigh Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence makes the already difficult divorce process harrowing. Daphne Edwards at Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law in Raleigh, North Carolina, is committed to aggressively advocating for you and your children’s legal rights and safety. For more information, please contact us online or call us at (919) 838-7160 today.